Here’s a story about Norway. On August 21, 1969,massive oil reserves were discovered under Norway’s sovereign waters in the North Sea. Previously poor regions became suddenly wealthy as the petroleum boom–later bolstered by a natural gas discovery–poured new income into the region.But the wealth wasn’t spread evenly—not every Norwegian in the north could get in on the action. Suddenly there were the makings of a great natural experiment (PDF). Researchers wanted to see what the impact of sudden cash infusions–a significant environmental change–had on previously poor students, as compared with their still-impoverished peers. The influx of money bested almost every other popular solution to the education gap: students in suddenly-well-off families saw an average of 3 percent increase in absolute IQ and a 6 percent increase in college attendance. The results were as good as the best American charter schools at a fraction of the cost and logistical hassle.
Sunday, January 4, 2015
The Best Way to Help Poor People is to Give them Money
More evidence that big expenditures on educational improvements and so on don't help poor children nearly as much as cash: